Exploring the interactive element in architecture: a children's discovery museum for Washington, D.C.

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The fresh new approach taken by today's children's museums offers great potential for an equally fresh approach to the architecture which houses these special places. Just as the "exhibits" at the children's museums invite a new relationship between the visitor and the museum collection, so too should the architecture encourage a new interaction between the individual and the built structure, between the institution and the urban environment.

The new Children's Discovery Museum proposed for Washington, D.C. takes the theme of interaction as its basis. The design aims to promote a new level of participation between the people, the building, and the city. In this way, the attitude which is central in making children's museums so special was adapted to form an architectural framework: that all children -- regardless of age -- might discover a more meaningful connectedness to the built world around them.